LOS ANGELES — A defense that led the Pasadena High boys’ basketball team to a CIF Southern Section Division III-AAA championship last season and a discipline that held tight through contentious circumstances abandoned the Bulldogs on Tuesday evening.
Visiting Pasadena had no answer for a balanced attack from seventh-seeded Loyola and lost its cool toward the end of Tuesday evening’s 80-56 CIF Southern Section Division I-AA second round playoff game.
With the defeat, Pacific League champion Pasadena ended its season with a 21-6 record.
“It was a good season. We finished with 21 wins and I thought we fought hard to get back in the game,” Pasadena Coach Tim Tucker said. “We were right there, but it just wasn’t going our way. I’m looking at some calls where they’re calling intentional fouls on one end and [Pasadena center Brandon] Jolley is thrown to the floor and doesn’t get a call. They’re traveling in the backcourt and nothing is being called and we lost our cool.”
Tucker led the exodus on what was a bizarre final two minutes when the veteran coach was ejected at the 1:19 mark for throwing his clipboard onto the floor.
Tucker was in disbelief for an intentional foul called against the Bulldogs that led to two free throws for Thomas Lapham.
The technical foul and intentional foul was one of four technical fouls against the Bulldogs in a 20-second sequence in which senior Raymond Jackson was also tossed.
A 14-point deficit eventually ballooned into a 24-point defeat.
“I’m sorry I lost my composure, but I just couldn’t watch anymore,” Tucker said. “It was a tale of two halves.”
Prior to the technical foul fest, the game slipped away from Pasadena just as the Bulldogs were on the cusp of tying.
Loyola broke open a one-possession game with a three-pointer from senior guard Mtume Armour with 5:39 remaining that put the Cubs (22-6) ahead, 53-48.
After a turnover from Pasadena on its next possession, it appeared the Bulldogs came up with a defensive stop on a missed jumper from sophomore guard Max Hazzard.
Yet, Hazzard rebounded his miss and fed junior Parker Jackson-Cartwright (18 points) for a three-pointer as the Cubs went up, 56-48, with four minutes remaining.
The three-pointer from Hazzard was part of an 8-0 run for the Cubs as they took a 58-48 advantage with 3:44 left.
While Pasadena’s Andre Spight (team-high 16 points) countered with three free throws that closed the Bulldogs’ gap to 58-51 with 3:22 left, Jackson-Cartwright raced down court for a layup as the Bulldogs never pulled any closer than seven points again.
“They just made more plays,” said Bulldogs senior Perris Hicks, who finished with eight points. “It was great to play with all these seniors and to go out in an atmosphere like this.”
Pasadena trailed, 46-35, with 2:33 remaining in the third quarter, when the visitors rallied.
The Bulldogs scored eight of the quarter’s final 10 points to climb within 48-43.
Jolley then helped narrow the deficit to two points twice, at 48-46 and 50-48 with 6:02 remaining by going four for four at the free-throw line.
“Loyola just made more plays then we did. We tried our best and can keep our heads up,” said Jolley, who finished with 13 points. “We just didn’t do enough on offense or defense.”
Pasadena led, 28-21, with 3:20 remaining in the second quarter after a three-pointer from Spight, but may have surrendered momentum when Loyola scored the final eight points of the quarter in going up, 29-28, at the half.